gymnasts and the internet

Most teen and young women where I live socialize online mainly on Facebook. Including the gymnasts.

Is that a problem?

Perhaps less than most coaches think. From the NY Times:

Good news for worried parents: All those hours their teenagers spend socializing on the Internet are not a bad thing, according to a new study by the MacArthur Foundation.

Gymnasts are BUSY. They don’t have much time for Mall crawling and hanging out with friends.

But they can keep in touch with what’s happening through MySpace or Facebook. Before or after work-out.

… “Those concerns about predators and stranger danger have been overblown,” she said. “There’s been some confusion about what kids are actually doing online. Mostly, they’re socializing with their friends, people they’ve met at school or camp or sports.” …

NY Times – Teenagers’ Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing

Facebook is not going away. We need to make the best of it.


One big question is whether or not coaches should “friend” their gymnasts.

Many my age, do not. Preferring to keep a “professional distance”.

My policy is to “friend” gymnasts on their request only. That’s worked out well for me, so far.

The day may come when I decide to unfriend all current athletes, however. Though I hope it doesn’t.

Leave a comment if you’ve had problems with athletes using social networking sites.

UPDATE: The comments are excellent on this post. Especially the one from Just another opinion. Thanks. I will stay “friended” to my gymnasts that made the request, for now. It’s definitely been a PLUS. Also, they need to learn — hopefully not the hard way — what’s appropriate and inappropriate to share with the world. Knowing that adults can monitor, is part of that.

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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